The Labor Day cupcakes I was telling you about. I started these cupcakes feel ho-hum about them. I knew it had to be cupcakes for this event because it involved my friend Emily. And I had visions of fantastical cupcakes creations and sugar plum fairies and the whole lot. But I didn’t have a lot of time and what time I did have, I wanted to spend with Nate & Canaan. So these cupcakes were my compromise that left me feeling a little bit dissatisfied … until they started coming together and I started licking the batter.
They might not “do it” for the avid chocoholic in your group but these little guys that capitalize on an ingredient not often paired with cakes and cupcakes can hold their own. That might have a lot to do with the frosting, though. The cream-cheese laden, cinnamon-spiked frosting that allows you to put enough of it on top of the cupcake to almost collapse the cake itself. Yes, that will do just fine. I’ve always found a cupcakes gets better with every extra inch of frosting used.
The cakes themselves are moist and relatively light. I’m not sure how much I noticed their flavor as I did the texture. That’s not because the flavor was bad, it’s just that the frosting is the star. I was skeptical of the orange zest as I’m not often a fan of adding citrus to my cakes, but decided to try the recipe in true form the first time. Upon pulling the cakes from the oven and taking a sample bite (of course!) I found myself wishing I’d followed my instinct to leave it out. But by the time they were cooled and garnished with frosting, the orange was mellow enough to convince even me that this cupcake was still A-okay.
Taken from Annie’s Eats, she adapted from A Southern Grace
For the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
½ cup whole milk
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. grated orange zest
½ tsp. vanilla extract
For the frosting:
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Stir milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat just until butter melts; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs and sugar until thick enough for the batter to fall in a heavy ribbon when the beater is lifted, about 5 minutes. Beat in orange peel and vanilla. Add the flour mixture; beat just until blended. Beat in the milk-butter mixture just until blended. Divide batter evenly between cupcake liners. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 16-18 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
To make the frosting, cream the butter and the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until very smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing. Add the vanilla extract and cinnamon and mix until incorporated. Slowly add the powdered sugar, and keep adding until you reach the desired consistency and sweetness. Frost cooled cupcakes.
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